The Trials of Oscar Wilde

Wilde: The Marquess of Queensberry’s claim to fame is that he patronized the man who designed the rules of boxing that bear his name: “The Queensberry Rules”
My lord, I object

Wilde: This is the Marquess of Queensberry, the most infamous brute in London. You are never to allow him to enter my house again.
So far as Lord Queensberry is concerned, any act he has done, in any letter he has written, he withdraws nothing

Narrarator 1: Edward Carson, the attorney for the defense:
He has done all those things with a premeditation and a determination at all risks and at all hazards to save his son.

Wilde: I am thirty-nine or forty. You have my certificate and that should settle the matter.
You were born on the 16th of October 1854. That makes you more than forty.

Wilde: Lord Alfred Douglas is about twenty-four, and was between twenty and twenty-one years of age when I first knew him
I hold in my hand a letter written by Mr. Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas; I will now read for the court.
My own dear Boy,
Your sonnet was quite lovely and it a marvel that those red rose lips of yours should have been made no less for music of song than for madness of kisses. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyancinthus, whom Apollo loved madly was you in greek days.
Why are you alone in London, and when do you go to Salisbury? Do go there to cool your hands in the grey twilight of gothic things, the come here whenever you like. It is lovely place– it only lacks you
Always with undying love,
yours,
Oscar
Why should a man of your age address a boy nearly twenty years younger “My own boy”?

Wilde: Sir, this is a beautiful letter. It is a poem. I was not writing an ordinary letter. You might as well cross-examine me as to whether king lear or a sonnet of shakespeare’s is proper.
Apart from art, Mr Wilde?

Wilde: I cannot answer apart from art.
Suppose a man who was not an artist had written this letter, would you say it was a proper letter?

Wilde: A man who was not an artist could not have written letter.
why?

Wilde: He certainly could not write the language unless he were a man of letters.
I can suggest, for the sake of your reputation, that there is nothing wonderful in this “red rose lips of yours?”

Wilde: A great deal depends on the way it is read
“Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry.” Is that a beautiful phrase?

Wilde: You read it very badly.
I do not profess to be an artist; and when I hear you give evidence, I am glad I am not.

Clarke: Pray do not criticize my friends reading again.
Here is another letter which I believe you also wrote to Lord Alfred Douglas. Will you read it?

Wilde: No, I decline. I don’t see why I should.
Then I will.

Narrator 1: From a letter written at the Savoy Hotel:
Dearest of all boys,
Your letter was a delight, red and yellow wine to me; but I am sad and out of sorts. Bosie, you must not make scenes with me. They kill me, they wreck the loveliness of life. I cannot listen to your curved lips saying those hideous things to me. I would sooner die then have you bitter, unjust, hating… I must see you soon. you are the divine thing I want, the thing of grace and beauty, but I don’t know how to do it. I have also got a new sittingroom… Why are you not here, my dear, my wonderful boy?
Your own Oscar
Is that an ordinary letter?

Wilde: Ask me any question you like about it.
Is it the kind of letter that a man writes to another?

Wilde: It was a tender expression of my great admiration for Lord Alfred Douglas.
Mr. Wilde, this is the magazine “The Chameleon”?

Wilde: yes
Why did you contribute your writings to the “The Chameleon”?

Wilde: I was asked by a friend to do so.
Would that friend be Lord Alfred Douglas?

Wilde: yes
Why would he want you to contribute to this magazine?

Wilde: The publishers of the magazine are friends of his at Oxford undergraduate publication.
Lord Alfred Douglas himself also contributed to this issue of the magazine. Two poems, I believe.

Wilde: Yes. Two very beautiful poems.
In this magazine, In addition to your contribution and the two poems by Lord Alfred Douglas, there is a short story entitled. “The Priest and the Acolyte.” In it a priest falls in the love with a boy who serves him at the altar, and is discovered by the rector in the priest’s room. Then scandal arises. Have you read “The Priest and the Acolyte”?

Wilde: yes
You have no doubt whatever that that was an improper story?

Wilde: I thought the treatment rotten and the subject rotten.
You are of the opinion, I believe, That there is no such thing as an immoral book?

Wilde: That is correct.
May I take it you think “The Priest and the Acolyte” was not immoral?

Wilde: It was worse. It was badly written.
Did you think the story was blasphemous?

Wilde: The story filled me with disgust. The end was wrong.
Answer the question, sir. Did you or did you not consider the story blasphemous?

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